You trust your medical provider to give you or a loved one a certain standard of care. However, when your doctor or surgeon is negligent, the results can be devastating to you and your family. Be it medical and dental malpractice or birth injuries and cancer misdiagnosis, know that at Kalinoski Law Offices, we will stand with you to ensure your suffering is compensated and the parties responsible are put to task.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is negligent or improper treatment of a patient by a medical professional, where the outcome results in loss, harm, or damages sustained because of the poor care.
For those with successful medical malpractice claims, you may be awarded compensatory damages for actual costs incurred, such as medical bills and lost wages. In addition, you may receive non-economic damages, pain, and suffering.
What are the most common forms of medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. The most common forms of medical malpractice leading to claims are:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis: Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to recognize the clinical signs and symptoms of a condition as well as does not order proper testing that would lead to a diagnosis. Other forms of delayed or misdiagnosis include misread lab results, errors in tests, etc.
- Failure to treat: Failure to treat isn’t as simple as a doctor doing nothing for a patient, sometimes it can be the result of being released from a hospital too soon, not providing follow up care, not ordering subsequent tests, and not reviewing a patient’s medical history when prescribing a treatment plan.
- Prescription drug errors: When a doctor provides too large a dosage of a prescription drug, a medication that has negative interactions with other medications, or does not recognize and convey the hazards of medication, he or she can be found liable for prescription drug errors.
- Surgical/procedural errors: Many individuals think of surgical errors when they hear medical malpractice. This can include operating on the wrong limb, tools being left inside a patient, issues with anesthesia, or not following appropriate medical procedures before, during, and after the surgery.
- Birth injuries: Devastating to expectant parents, birth injuries can include trauma to both mother and child during delivery, mishandling the baby after birth, and even substandard prenatal care.
These errors result in 250,000 deaths each year and of those who file medical malpractice claims, 80% of cases result from severe injuries or deaths.
Comparative Negligence in Medical Malpractice Claims
Under Pennsylvania Constitutional Statutes, the negligence doctrine of modified comparative liability is utilized. In these cases with several liabilities, there may be an assigned degree of fault to each party. In cases of intentional fraud, intentional harm, or if a patient is more than 60 percent liable for his or her harm, there will not be a recovery of damages.
Medical Malpractice Legal Requirements
If you have suffered at the hands of a medical provider, you will need to have strong evidence to support your claims. In Pennsylvania, you will need a certificate of merit and expert testimony highlighting the wrongdoing which resulted in injury, illness, or death.
Your certificate of merit must illustrate one of the following:
- There is a reasonable probability there was a breached standard of care,
- The defendant was responsible for the person who breached the standard of care,
- There is no need for expert testimony
In those cases where expert medical testimony/witness is required, the selected expert must be:
- A physician who is is experienced in the field in question
- Of the same or a similar specialty as the defendant
The injured will have two years from the accident to file a medical malpractice claim, except in situations where the injury was not known or the victim was a minor at the time of the incident.
Medical Care Availability and Reduction Error Fund
The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund (“Mcare”) was created by the state to ensure reasonable compensation for individuals injured due to medical negligence. Specifically, the fund is used to pay claims against participating health care providers for losses or damages awarded in excess of basic insurance coverage provided by primary professional liability insurance companies or self-insurers. In addition to paying out claims, Mcare handles compliance issues as well and serves as a third party to handle such claims against medical providers.
Scranton Medical Malpractice: Kalinoski Law Offices P.C.
If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice and sustained an injury that’s left you with medical bills, a disability, or mental or physical anguish, call Scranton personal injury attorney Craig Kalinoski. Located in Downtown Scranton, our office provides services for clients all across Pennsylvania, especially in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Wayne, Pike, and Monroe counties. Contact us today for a free consultation.